1831 : Creation of French Foreign Legion : The Foreign Legion, whose unofficial motto is “Legio patria nostra" (“The legion is our fatherland"), was founded this day in 1831 by King Louis-Philippe as an aid in controlling French colonial possessions in Africa.
1975 : Belgian novelist and poet Marie Gevers, who wrote works that evoked Kempenland, a rural area in which she spent most of her life, died.
1945 : The U.S. Army Air Forces bombed Tokyo with napalm, causing fires that destroyed a quarter of the city and killed some 80,000 civilians.
1943 : American chess master Bobby Fischer was born in Chicago.
1930 : American jazz saxophonist, composer, and bandleader Ornette Coleman was born in Fort Worth, Texas.
1916 : Pancho Villa's men killed more than a dozen in a raid on Columbus, New Mexico.
1862 : The Battle of the Monitor and Merrimack, a duel between ironclads during the American Civil War, marked the beginning of a new era of naval warfare.
1454 : Italian explorer Amerigo Vespucci was born in Florence.